NASCAR Truck Series

Kenko Miura making NASCAR Truck debut at Mid-Ohio with Reaume

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Credit: Stephane Azemard/NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

For the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series‘ first time racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, Reaume Brothers Racing will field a pair of first timers. While Stephen Mallozzi is in the #43, Kenkō Miura has been tasked with piloting the #33 Chevrolet Silverado RST.

Miura (三浦 健光) is the first Japanese drive to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, racing in the Elite 1 (now EuroNASCAR PRO) and Elite 2 (EuroNASCAR 2) divisions from 2017 to 2019. After sporadic starts in his first year, he elevated to a full Elite 1 schedule for Alex Caffi Motorsport in 2018, during which he placed fifteenth in points and received the Challenger Trophy given to bronze/silver drivers in the tier. He also ran the bulk of the Elite 2 season and scored his only podium to date when he finished third at Circuit Zolder. A nineteenth-place championship finish followed in 2019.

Although he had hoped to race for the EuroNASCAR 2 title with DF1 Racing in 2020, Japanese COVID-19 travel restrictions forced him to the sideline until the season-ending doubleheader in Valencia, where he claimed the Legends Trophy for over-forty drivers thrice in four races. Further pandemic limitations prevented him from running the 2021 calendar.

Miura will be the seventh Japanese driver to compete in NASCAR’s national series alongside Akinori OgataHideo FukuyamaShigeaki HattoriKenji Momota, and Toshio Suzuki. Ogata has also raced for Reaume in 2022.

“I am very pleased to be able to participate in this NASCAR Camping World Track Series,” said Miura. “We would like to thank EuroNASCAR, sponsors, media management teams and all who have been involved in making this happen. I raced and will continue to race in EuroNASCAR.

“However, racing in the home of NASCAR in the United States was one of my goals. I understand that it is very difficult to race overseas as a Japanese or Asian, but this is not about giving up, it’s about taking on challenges and it can lead to new sceneries no one can see yet. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a very high-level series, but I would like to understand the machine, work with the team, and spend the race week positively.”

The 42-year-old joins a handful of drivers who have competed in both the Euro Series and Truck Series, including 2021 EuroNASCAR PRO champion Loris Hezemans who made a Truck start for RBR at Las Vegas in February. He is one of twenty-three drivers to compete in NASCAR divisions on both sides of the Atlantic.

“We are very happy to support Kenkō’s initiative to discover NASCAR racing in the USA,” added Euro Series head Jerome Galpin“This is fully part of our attributions to prepare and accompany our drivers in their projects to race in the USA. Of course, this is a big challenge due to the very few practice time allowed to new competitors, but we are confident Kenkō can qualify for the race, even in his very first try.”

Luckily for Galpin’s prediction, making the race will not be an issue as a full grid of thirty-six trucks are entered, meaning nobody will go home.

The Mallozzi/Miura duo adds to a growing list of drivers who received chances to make their NASCAR débuts with RBR. In 2022, Truck newcomers to drive for the team include Jade BufordChase JanesBrayton Laster, Nick LeitzBlake LothianMason MaggioThad Moffitt (in alliance with GMS Racing), Brad Pérez, and Armani Williams; all but Buford and Hezemans did not have NASCAR national series experience prior to 2022.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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